FCRA CASE LAW UPDATE – NO THIRD PARTY DISCLOSURE REQUIRED UNDER 1681e(b) IN 9TH CIRCUIT – Equifax’s Motion for Partial Judgment Denied
Equifax’s Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings Denied
In Brooks v. Equifax, the court denied Equifax’s Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings. In her complaint, plaintiff alleged she settled an account with Wells Fargo, but Equifax did not update her credit report to show that no balance was owed on the account. About a year after she settled the account with Wells Fargo, she received her credit report from Equifax. The Equifax credit report reported the Wells Fargo account with an outstanding balance. She disputed the Wells Fargo account to Equifax, but Equifax verified the past due balance.
The plaintiff filed her lawsuit against Equifax in state court, and Equifax removed the case to federal court. Equifax filed its Motion for Partial on the Pleadings to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims under 15 U.S.C. § 1681e(b) of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FCRA requires consumer reporting agencies, such as Equifax, to follow reasonable procedures when preparing a credit report. Section 1681e(b) also requires the plaintiff to present evidence that the credit report is inaccurate. Whether a consumer reporting agency followed reasonable procedures “will be jury questions in the overwhelming majority of cases.” Guimond v. Trans Union Credit Info., 45 F.3d 1329, 1333 (9th Cir. 1995).
Equifax unsuccessfully argued that Section 1681e(b) requires the consumer report to be provided to a third party. In other words, plaintiff’s claims under Section 1681e(b) were due to be dismissed because Equifax provided her with the consumer report – not someone else. However, in the Ninth Circuit, disclosure of an inaccurate credit report is not a prerequisite for a consumer reporting agency’s liability under Section 1681e(b). Guimond, at 1333, n.3. Likewise, a credit denial is not required for a viable claim under Section 1681e(b).
Accordingly, the court denied Equifax’s Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings because the complaint alleged the credit reports prepared by Equifax tended to show that Equifax prepared the reports with inaccurate information about the Wells Fargo balance.
Do you have credit report errors? Have you disputed the credit report errors to Equifax, Experian or Trans Union, and the credit bureaus verified false information? Then you may be entitled to money damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Adkins Firm represents consumers with credit report errors and background report errors. If or your client has credit report errors and need help, contact us for a free case review.